Friday 27 April 2018

Claudio Ranieri: Leicester success needs time to taste slowly - like a good wine

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was mobbed after leaving lunch with his players on Tuesday
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was mobbed after leaving lunch with his players on Tuesday

Triumphant Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri says it could take him two years to understand what he has achieved after winning the Barclays Premier League.

Ranieri and his team - 5,000-1 shots at the start of the season - stunned the football world by sealing the title with two games to spare.

Leicester were among the favourites for the drop, with the Italian tipped to be the first manager sacked after he replaced Nigel Pearson last summer.

But they will receive their first top-flight trophy in their 132-year history after Saturday's final home game against Everton, and Ranieri said they must let it sink in.

"All the people around the world are asking for Leicester, what happened?" he said.

"But this is a moment you have to leave a little more (time) for and taste slowly like a good wine. Savour it. Maybe now is too early to think what we have done.

"Maybe one or two years could be better to understand, but now it is important to stay high in the world."

The Foxes clinched the title after Tottenham blew a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at Chelsea on Monday, leaving Leicester seven points clear.

Ranieri watched the game at home in Leicester while the squad went to striker Jamie Vardy's house together.

They are just the sixth team to win the Premier League, but Ranieri insisted an underdog will not emerge victorious again for another 20 years.

He said: "Big money makes the big teams and usually the big teams win - but now we can only say 99 per cent.

"How many years after Nottingham Forest (in 1978) and Blackburn (in 1995) have another team won? Next season will be the same, for the next 10 or 20 years will be the same. The richest will win or who can pick up the best players to make a team.

"If 20 owners have the same money for the players, only one can win and three will go down. That is football.

"Now the second team in Italy is Leicester. In Thailand, the first team is Leicester. I've received letters from Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil - everywhere 'Leicester, Leicester, what a legend'. Everyone knows the Premier League."

Press Association

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